Gillette Castle State Park Undergoing Improvements
Castle Interior Closed Until Spring 2023; $900,000 Project Part of Historic Investment To Restore Connecticut State Parks
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced today that it has embarked on needed construction upgrades at Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam. The construction work will restore the historic terrace overlook adjacent to the castle and includes a new drainage system and railings for visitors to safely view the Connecticut River from this location. In addition, this project will re-point the wall facing the river to maintain its proper structural shape. The castle interior will be closed during the upcoming winter holidays and into the spring, but several holiday events are scheduled thanks to the partnership with the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park.
The visitor center will remain open for the public to learn the story of William Gillette and the castle. The park grounds are open to the public. The Friends of Gillette Castle State Park will decorate the visitor center and its grounds as well as Grand Central Station, part of the three-mile-long narrow-gauge railroad on the property, with holiday décor. Musical performances and other outdoor activities will be taking place on Saturdays and Sundays, between Thanksgiving and Christmas. For details, visit the Friends of Gillette Castle State Park website. The grounds and walking trails, featuring views of the river, stone-arch bridges and wooded trestles spanning up to forty feet, remain open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. The public is free to enjoy a virtual tour any day or time of the year to view the interesting rooms and woodcarvings.
The $900,000 reconstruction project is part of a to address a backlog of needed infrastructure improvements across the State Park system. The adopted state budget includes $51.5 million ($21.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds as well as $30 million of bond fund authorization) to support important investments like these.
CT State Parks also operates the Osborne Homestead Museum in Osbornedale State Park, Derby. The museum, decorated by garden clubs and other volunteer groups, is open for holiday tours in celebration of “Holiday Feasts” from November 25 through December 17, 2022, Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The museum celebrates holiday food traditions of different cultures and nationalities and the diversity of American food through visual and creative decorations. On Fridays, December 2, 9, and 16, visitors can enjoy “Twilight Tours,” which display the amber glow of the decorations from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Established in 1913, the mission of the Connecticut State Park System is to provide natural resource-based public recreational and educational opportunities through a system of state park and forest recreation areas, environmental centers, and nature centers that provide an understanding of, access to, and enjoyment of, the state’s historic, cultural, and natural resources. Connecticut has 110 state parks and 32 state forests attracting more than 9 million visitors each year, generating over $1 billion in revenue for the state and supporting 9,000 private sector jobs. Those driving Connecticut registered motor vehicles are provided free entrance to the parks thanks to the Passport to the Parks program. For more information on Connecticut State Parks visit: www.ct.gov/deep/stateparks